Myasthenia Gravis Diet: 4 Foods To Eat and 4 To Avoid | MGteam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
About MGteam
Powered By

Myasthenia Gravis Diet: 4 Foods To Eat and 4 To Avoid

Updated on January 23, 2024

Myasthenia gravis is a rare autoimmune disorder that affects multiple body systems by causing the immune system to mistakenly target and attack the body’s cells, tissues, or organs. This process results in inflammation and damage. Although myasthenia gravis isn’t caused or cured by nutrition, symptoms like trouble swallowing and extreme fatigue can influence what you eat. Finding ways to eat well with the disease can help you feel healthier and reduce the risk of other health problems and complications down the road.

Feel your best by choosing food items that are easy to prepare and safe to eat (or drink). Here are some ideas to get started.

4 Foods To Eat With Myasthenia Gravis

Fortunately, there are plenty of foods you can eat with myasthenia gravis. Incorporating a variety of whole, natural foods provides the fuel to function at your best.

1. Eggs

Many people with myasthenia gravis feel tired later in the day. Starting the morning with a nutritious meal can set you up for a healthier day, especially if you aren’t as motivated to cook or eat in the afternoons.

Eggs are soft and easy to chew and swallow. They’re also very nutritious, filled with protein and other nutrients. Eggs contain every essential vitamin for humans except vitamin C. By eating just two eggs per day, you can get up to 30 percent of your daily vitamin needs.

Cracking open fresh eggs and scrambling them on the stovetop or in the microwave is a quick way to get a hot and nutritious meal. You can also prepare boiled eggs in advance so they’re ready anytime.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt contains active cultures known as probiotics, which can support healthy digestive and immune systems. Yogurt is also a good source of calcium and protein. Because long-term use of steroid medication (a treatment option for myasthenia gravis) can lead to bone loss, yogurt in combination with vitamin D3 can be an important source of bone-strengthening nutrients for people with myasthenia gravis. In addition, yogurt’s thick and smooth consistency makes it easy to get down.

3. Avocados

Avocados are another soft and moist food that can be easier for people with myasthenia gravis to eat. The creamy texture of avocado makes it perfect for spreading on sandwiches, eating with crackers, or whipping into salad dressings.

Avocados are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats. They also provide soluble fiber, which is good for digestion. The potassium content in avocados can help counter some of the sodium in your diet to control fluid retention, particularly if you’re taking steroids (like prednisone) to manage your condition. Although most people think of bananas when trying to eat more potassium, you’ll get more potassium in one-half of an avocado than in a whole medium-sized banana.

4. Green Smoothies

Fruits and vegetables are essential for a healthy diet. But they’re not always easy to prepare or eat. Green smoothies can help you get a wide range of nutritious produce with no chewing or cooking necessary.

To make a green smoothie, simply add fresh or frozen greens (spinach works well) to a blender. Add a variety of fruits to sweeten the deal, such as a ripe banana, frozen mango or berries, fresh pineapple, or a few peeled oranges. Then, pour in enough water to allow you to blend it into a drinkable shake. As you get more experience making smoothies from home, you can experiment with creative ingredients like carrots, pumpkin, kale, apricots, or even a few stalks of celery or frozen broccoli.

There is some research linking gut health to the development or progression of myasthenia gravis. While probiotics in foods like yogurt may be helpful for the gut, consuming a diet filled with fruits and veggies also supports a healthy microbiome. If you’re not a regular fresh fruit and veggie eater, smoothies are a great way to add them to your diet.

4 Foods To Avoid With Myasthenia Gravis

No food is officially off-limits for myasthenia gravis unless you have a swallowing issue that requires certain food modifications. Here are some foods to steer clear of to avoid unpleasant side effects and issues that are common with the disease.

1. Spicy Foods

Doctors may prescribe anticholinergic drugs like pyridostigmine (Mestinon) for myasthenia gravis. Unfortunately, the side effects may include nausea and diarrhea. To avoid making these issues worse, choose foods that don’t further irritate the gastrointestinal tract. Spicy foods can cause an upset stomach, so you may want to choose milder flavors that don’t have this effect.

You can also talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication dosage if the side effects significantly affect your ability to eat and keep food down. When managing myasthenia gravis, finding the right balance between treatment and quality of life can take trial and error. Regular communication with your health care team can help you get there.

2. Regular Milk

Milk has calcium and protein, but it’s also high in lactose, which can cause diarrhea for some people. In addition, thin liquids like milk can be hard for people with myasthenia gravis to swallow safely. Instead of milk, opt for lower-lactose dairy foods like yogurt and cheese.

3. Salty Snacks

Steroid medications are very effective at reducing inflammation. People with myasthenia gravis may need to go on and off steroids to help keep their symptoms under control. However, steroids also cause side effects including water retention. Eating too much sodium can make these side effects worse.

Processed foods, like chips, pretzels, and breakfast cereals, can be high in sodium. Even foods that taste sweet, like store-bought cookies or granola bars, may have more sodium than your body can handle. Check the food label to find out if your favorite snacks are high in sodium. Swapping in fresher snack foods, like fresh fruits, vegetables, plain oatmeal, and unsalted nuts, keeps your sodium intake down.

4. Canned Foods

Another common source of sodium in the diet is canned products. If you usually purchase premade meals in cans (like pasta dishes and soups), consider making them fresh instead. Canned beans and vegetables are convenient but often contain too much sodium for a healthy diet. Instead, look for frozen items or low-sodium or no-added-salt canned goods. You can also rinse canned foods under running water to eliminate some of the added sodium.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Even with the best intentions, it can be difficult to maintain good nutrition when managing the effects of an autoimmune disease like myasthenia gravis. If you’re struggling to eat a balanced diet, consider meeting with a registered dietitian for guidance and support.

You may need to include nutritional supplements in your diet to make up for areas that are lacking. In addition, consuming small meals throughout the day can help you take in enough nutrition when you’re not feeling up to a big meal. Eating well is essential for your overall health, so finding strategies that work for you is a worthwhile endeavor.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MGteam is the social network for people with myasthenia gravis and their loved ones. Members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with myasthenia gravis.

How do you maintain a balanced diet with myasthenia gravis? Do you avoid certain food groups like dairy products, and if so, what do you eat? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

Updated on January 23, 2024
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about myasthenia gravis sent to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Luc Jasmin, M.D., Ph.D., FRCS (C), FACS is a board-certified neurosurgery specialist. Learn more about him here.
Anastasia Climan, RDN, CDN is a dietitian with over 10 years of experience in public health and medical writing. Learn more about her here.

Recent Articles

Magnesium is essential for good health. But magnesium supplements or medications aren’t right for...

Magnesium and Myasthenia Gravis: Is It Safe? 7 Facts To Know

Magnesium is essential for good health. But magnesium supplements or medications aren’t right for...
“I have left-side facial numbness, weakness, blurred vision, and headache. Are these symptoms of ...

Myasthenia Gravis Smile: 4 Ways MG Affects the Face

“I have left-side facial numbness, weakness, blurred vision, and headache. Are these symptoms of ...
If you’re living with myasthenia gravis (MG), it’s important to know about a potential emergency ...

7 Signs of a Cholinergic Crisis With Myasthenia Gravis

If you’re living with myasthenia gravis (MG), it’s important to know about a potential emergency ...
This is a short guided meditation by Dr. Christiane Wolf on self-kindness, which gives you mo...

Self-Kindness When Struggling: 6-Minute Guided Meditation (VIDEO)

This is a short guided meditation by Dr. Christiane Wolf on self-kindness, which gives you mo...
Welcome to MGteam — the place to connect with others living with myasthenia gravis (MG). This vi...

Getting Started on MGteam (VIDEO)

Welcome to MGteam — the place to connect with others living with myasthenia gravis (MG). This vi...
Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder that affects how your nerves and muscles communicat...

7 Facts About Myasthenia Gravis You Should Know

Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disorder that affects how your nerves and muscles communicat...
MGteam My myasthenia gravis Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close